Plastic is a problem.
It’s a lot like gluten – almost everywhere and in a whole lot of things.
As I become more aware of just how serious this plastic problem is, and how it affects the earth, step by step I’m making a point to get educated on the topic of sustainability and make changes for the better at home and on the go.
“You want a bag for your items?”
In my mind, ‘since when?’ sprang up but thankfully no words came out.
After all, it was a step forward to Barbados becoming more environmentally aware. Durable and eco-friendly shopping bags started appearing near checkout lines in major supermarkets. They’re a bit chunky for a small or medium handbag but they can withstand the weight of a decent amount of groceries.
Two eco-friendly fabric bags that can each fold into the size of an orange and hold in place with a drawstring, are in the kitchen as I type this (a pic coming up), yet I haven’t always remembered to roll with them every single time a supermarket or shop stop comes up.
Does that ever happen to you?
Let’s face it – sometimes it gets so humid in town and it’s easy to go buy a small bottled water instead of chugging around a steel flask in your bag or hand. That said, it is still very much worth the effort.
Try to make use of any water stations with eco cups as long as they’re around, and if you happen to have a plastic bottle collection under your sink, aside from making playtoys for puppies, there’s probably a bottle drop-off spot within driving distance.
Conversations on the environment and our choices and behaviour related to it, are fast becoming a hot topic in Barbados, which is a good thing.
Littering is also a social challenge.
Recently, a ban on single-use plastics was set in motion on a national level, and an environmentally-friendly alternative to styrofoam made a debut on the market.
Yes, a lot of complaints by food sellers but they do have a point since the material the first line green packaging product is made with can hardly withstand the heat from freshly-made food. It withers like a leaf in the sun, leaving a rather sweaty-looking meal. (I cook the majority of my meals at home but have experienced this firsthand a few times.) The disposable, recyclable cutlery works well!
Metal straws are also now for sale in top cafes (if you prefer one of those instead of the soggy-in-a-second ones.)
Plastic wreaks havoc on land and in water, and along with choked gullies (that can create even more challenges when heavy rain comes), marine life is also affected.
Earth is a temporary home, but while we’re here, let’s clean it up and do what we can like decent houseguests.
It’s easy to look at the amount of sno-cone cups that get thrown from windows by others and not at the plastic bags crammed into one of our kitchen drawers.
The single-use plastic/polystyrene product ban went into high gear from April 1, 2019.
Steps we can set in motion:
– some supermarkets have a single bag rule for items in set categories (no double bags)
– make and use some DIY cleaning products
– get a few large eco-friendly bags on sale at major grocery stores for BBD $3.99 – $6.
– eco-friendly garbage bags
– paint & decorate used yoghurt cups and butter tubs to store miscellaneous items
– smart straws, disposable cutlery & cafe coffee cups
– as of April 1st, 2020 no plastic bags will be in commercial circulation. The goal is to be “plastic-free by 2020.”
A few starting steps can be:
- Re-using bottles for hair/skin/kitchen/cleaning products
- Returning bottles
- Buying and using supermarket smart shopping reusable bags
- Pelt fruit and veg “waste” in a composter/compost heap in set place outside
- Bring a bag to your neighbourhood shop
- opting for a steel or rubber-covered glass flask to store drinking water
- choosing glass jars over plastic first
- Keep a recycling chart on your fridge, like the one by Future Centre Trust
I’m looking forward to making better environmental decisions across the board on a consistent basis.
A fan of creation is technically a foe of pollution, so I’m up for the challenge – and responsibility.
Want to join me on this journey?
What sustainable step will you take today? It can start with cleaning routine, dental-skin-hair-care products, driving or composting habits.
It’s a process and sustainable packaging is not economically available everywhere, although if we believe we have been given all we need and we lack no good thing, I wonder if we’re being as observant and innovative as we can be, when it comes to making use of natural materials as packaging possibilities for some things.
Take conkies and pastelles (patty-like savoury-to-sweet seasonal treats) that are wrapped in banana leaves in Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago respectively, and there was that delicious pizza wrapped in a piece of everyday cardboard, in Cuba.
I think it would be quaint (and definitely plastic-free) to take home any restaurant or deli food neatly wrapped in a banana leaf with twine to seal it. If we can take home a swan-shaped foiled something carrying food, why not a rain-washed tropical leaf straight from the tree?